Happy Memorial Day. Thank a vet.

I hope you have today off for Memorial Day. It’s a day to remember those who made a difference in our lives, but it’s also the unofficial kick-off for the summer season.

Happy Memorial Day to you. Today’s really all about remembering the people who did great things, whether it was for our country or just for the people they were closest to. It’s a day to remember the heroes who fought wars to keep us free, for the policemen and firefighters who died to save the lives of others, or our family members who made us what we are today.

I hope you have someone special to honor today. And I hope you’ll allow me to tell you about someone I’m thinking about this Memorial Day.

I met Ron Winger when I was in college. He was my roommate’s dad, and he was an incredible man. He served our country in Vietnam, then he came home and served his community as a volunteer firefighter and paramedic. In addition to all of that, he and his wife Mary raised a fantastic pair of kids, and I’m very lucky to be able to claim the whole family among my friends.

Ron passed away a number of years ago, though, and I’ve always regretted the fact that I didn’t get to spend as much time with him as I’d wanted to. That’s the hardest part of Memorial Day for me – knowing I missed out on opportunities to spend more time with people like Ron, all because I thought I had more important things to do.

But this Memorial Day, like most others since Ron passed away, I’m doing what I can. Ron left me some of his fishing gear, including a nice little spinning rod and reel, and I’m taking it to the beaver ponds on Pole Mountain. I’m taking my kids, too, because I don’t want them to ever say they didn’t get to go fishing with me as often as they’d wanted to.

We’ll do some fishing, and I’ll tell my boys what Ron meant to me. I wish Ron could go with us, but in some ways, I think he will be.

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